Monday Mornings with Madison

Driving Your “Me” with Your “My”, Part 1

Word Count: 1,651
Estimated Read Time: 6 1/2 Min.

Most companies are driven by a desire to “do well” — make money, grow, increase brand reputation, gain influence, etc.  Professionals are usually driven by the same desires – make money, gain prominence and respect, increase power and control, rise through the ranks, etc.  Doing well is inner-focused.  It is driven by I and Me, as in ‘I lead a profitable company’ and ‘This raise is a financial boon for me’.   In the U.S., admiration is bestowed on individuals and businesses that do well according to these measures.  It is a competitive landscape that rewards self-interest and self-promotion.

Then there are those who are driven to “do good.”  “Doing good” is different from “doing well.”  Doing good is outwardly focused.  It is about helping those in need, making the world a better place, solving global problems, and caring about the community and collective.  It is outward-focused and other-centered.   It is driven by My and Our… as in ‘My community matters’ and ‘We need to care for our planet.’  Doing good is fueled by a sense of personal responsibility for the greater good. Continue reading

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Why Personality Type Matters at Work – Part 5

Word Count: 1,688
Estimated Read Time: 6 1/2 Min.

Hiring and Neuroticism

Call someone “neurotic” and it will surely be taken as an insult or slight.  But the truth is that everyone has some degree of neuroticism in their personality.  It is not an insult, any more than saying that being introverted or casual or reticent is an insult.  That’s because Neuroticism is the fifth of the personality traits in the OCEAN Model or Big Five Personality Model.  (Over the last month, we already looked at the other four areas: Openness, Conscientiousness, Extroversion, and Agreeableness.)  Naturally, we left neuroticism for last.  It just sounds so negative.

So what is neuroticism?  Neuroticism reflects how a person deals with negative emotions including fear, sadness, anxiety, guilt and shame.  These are emotions everyone experiences, but how much they affect us and how we deal with them varies from person to person.  This reflects their degree of neuroticism on the spectrum.  On one end are those people who have a high degree of neuroticism.  Those are people who experience negative emotions more intensely and/or more often.  On the other end of the spectrum are those who have a very low degree of neuroticism and are not affected by negative emotions as much. Continue reading

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Why Personality Type Matters at Work – Part 4

Word Count: 1,645
Estimated Read Time: 6 1/2 Min.

Hiring for Openness

Openness is one of the Big Five personality traits.  It is the trait that most people are happy to possess in the extreme.  No one readily admits to being closed-minded or enjoying repetition and ruts.  Few will own that they don’t have a single creative bone in their body.  But the truth is that people come with a variety of personality features, including degrees of openness.  So how does the openness personality trait manifest in reality, and how does that impact a person professionally? Continue reading

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Why Personality Type Matters at Work – Part 3

Personality not only plays a big part in how we get along with others, it also plays a HUGE part in how well we handle the demands of life.  Personality impacts not only how we do in school, but how well we do at work and in life.  Our personality influences our behavior.  One might even say that personality and behavior are inextricably linked.  Personality is what makes up our qualities and peculiarities. Continue reading

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Why Personality Type Matters at Work – Part 2

Word Count: 1,645
Estimated Read Time: 5 1/2 Min.

Hiring for Agreeableness

Personality plays a BIG part in how we get along with others.  Of course, this impacts not only one’s personal life but professional life as well.  Our personality is always with us, influencing what we think, what we feel, and how we behave.

Each person’s personality is comprised of five broad personality traits.  A trait is also referred to as an attribute, characteristic, feature, particularity, peculiarity, or quality.  Known as the Big Five, these traits were defined in the 1970s by two research teams led by Paul Costa and Robert R. McCrae of the National Institutes of Health and Warren Norman and Lewis Goldberg of the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor and the University of Oregon.  The Big Five are the ingredients that make up each individual’s personality.  The acronym spells OCEAN. Continue reading

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Why Personality Type Matters at Work – Part 1

Word Count: 1,895
Estimated Read Time: 8 Min.

Psychologists universally agree that personality plays a huge role in our everyday lives.  Everything people do reflects their personality.  It is always with us, influencing what we think, what we feel, and how we behave.  One might say that personality is embedded in our behavioral DNA.  Personality affects how people interact with one another and how well-suited people are for the type of work they do.  So while we can override our natural personality inclinations, it is not advisable or wise. Continue reading

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Debunking the Perfection Myth

Word Count: 1,344
Estimated Read Time: 5 min.

Steve Jobs.  Martha Stewart.  Winston Churchill.  Serena Williams.  Gene Kelley.  Lance Armstrong.  Michelangelo.   James Cameron.   David Foster Wallace.  What do these men and women – who come from vastly different careers, time periods and nationalities — have in common?  They are or were notorious perfectionists.  But what exactly does that mean? Continue reading

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Just How Important is Teamwork in Business? Part 4

Word Count: 1,665
Estimated Read Time: 6 ½ min.

Getting a diverse group of people to work collectively, collaboratively and cooperatively together toward one common goal is the ultimate goal of any organization.   That’s because, among other things, collaboration allows an organization to capture and utilize the fund of collective intelligence and talents.   As Yale University professor Halford E. Luccock said, “no one can whistle a symphony.  It takes a whole orchestra to play it.”  A unified “we” is much smarter and stronger than any “I”.  But it requires unity and cohesion.  Many instruments playing independently produce noise.  But many instruments playing in perfect harmony produce great music.  That requires teamwork. Continue reading

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Just How Important is Teamwork in Business? Part 3

Word Count: 1,512
Estimated Read Time: 6 min.

Getting a diverse group of people to work collectively, collaboratively and cooperatively together toward one common goal is the ultimate goal of any organization.  To see teamwork in action, one need look no further than the team sport of rowing.  Indeed, rowing is considered by many to be the ultimate teamwork sport.  All team members have to work in unison and be both physically & technically exact.  Every competing athlete, every coach and every behind the scenes team member works together to achieve success.  By working together as a team, a certain amount of self-monitoring kicks in that isn’t present when people work individually.  The best teams experience self-correcting behavior, reducing the need for direction and management. Continue reading

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Just How Important is Teamwork in Business? Part 2

Word Count: 1,713
Estimated Read Time: 7 min.

We already know, from last week, that teamwork is not just a human skill.  The animal kingdom is filled with really impressive (and sometimes downright amazing) examples of teamwork.  Ant cities.  Bee colonies.  Starling murmurations.  To see these tiny creatures working cooperatively with the same synchronicity of a well-trained military unit and the most beautiful water ballet performers should make everyone’s head puzzle in wonder.  It takes a lot of practice, communication and concerted effort for humans to work as a team seamlessly, and yet bees, ants and birds – with brains the size of grains of sand and pebbles –all work in lock-step without practice or effort and with a seemingly limited ability to communicate.  And yet many companies can’t get departments to work cohesively or collaboratively.  Why?

First, employees need to understand that cooperation and teamwork is good not only for the company – which it is – but also for the individual.  Case in point. Continue reading

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